In Somalia, Muslims kept busy as Ramadan comes
Thursday, July 11, 2013
In Somalia, business is booming, prices are rocketing
and people are busy shopping as Islam's holiest month of fasting
Ramadan is expected to start this week.
Muslims in this Horn of Africa country are preparing for the 30- day
abstinence by buying staples from the markets in the capital Mogadishu.
Bakara Market is the biggest of its kind in Somalia, and both
shoppers and traders are busy buying and selling the essentials for
getting through the fast during the ninth month of the Muslim lunar
Ramadan starts following the sighting of the moon's crescent in any place in the country or in other Muslim nations.
Adult Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink and sex during
the time between dawn and dusk but feast and pray during much of the
People tend to buy staples such as flour, rice, sugar and dates in
bulk that will last for the whole month, so shopping during this time is
hectic in all markets in the country.
Aweys Ahmed Osman is a trader at the Bakara market and sells various
foodstuffs. He says business is booming and people are buying in large
quantities to get ready for the holy month.
"This is the time of year that we see businesses, especially food
stuff going fast. This year the price of dates is lower than last year,
for example, and people are happy about that so they will have good
Ramadan," Osman told Xinhua at his store in Bakara.
Somali government officials this week called on local traders reduce
the prices of basic foodstuffs which often skyrocket during Ramadan.
Residents in the capital say that despite the government's call
prices of most staple commodities remained as high as they were before.
Thousands of internally displaced people who fled from their homes
two years ago because of the famine in the southern parts are encamped
in various parts of the city. Those may not be able to buy the food to
break the fast after a long day of abstinence.
Senior government leaders called on business people to help the poor
and displaced during the holy month of Ramadan which is a month of
sharing and charity for the vulnerable in Islam.
But for those who can afford to buy their Ramadan essentials in bulk
like Ahmed Mohamed's family, getting ready for fasting is no problem.
"We are ready for Ramadan and bought from the market all we needed to
consume during the night," Mohamed told Xinhua as he shopped at the
main Bakara Market in Mogadishu.